Sydney artist Bourgeois Earth talks us through their processes for making the video animation for latest release, Cockroach.
Written by Nick Griffith
Cockroach is the latest single from Bourgeois Earth – the solo project of multi-instrumentalist, Nicholas Griffith, who you might recognise from Sydney bands Big White, High-Tails and Bored Shorts.
Far from the hooky guitar pop Nicholas Griffith is known for, in Cockroach, he experiments with pre-recorded sounds taken from a handful of bargain bin records. The eerie synths are reminiscent of the choir-like organs in Suicide's Keep Your Dreams, while the brass instrumentation and ethereal vocals could be compared to experimental pop act, Animal Collective.
Nicholas Griffith has recently taught himself to animate, and his most recent project is an accompanying video to the track.
"As I was making this video, it became obvious that it was probably about house in Sydney I used to live in. I tried to imagine I was a cockroach in that house and all the sort of things I would crawl around on. It's kind of confusing scale-wise because some objects are cockroach sized, some are human sized and some, you can't really tell. This, I feel poses the question: who's house is this really? Mine? Or the cockroach's?", says Griffith of the animation.
Below, Nicholas Griffith talks through his how he got into animating, comparing 'tunes to 'toons', and shares the video.
"I'm fairly new to the world of animation. It's always been in my subconscious though. When I was about eight years old I created adventures from the likes of "Corny the Acorn" on Microsoft Powerpoint, adjusting the slide transition to fractions of a second. That taught me a lot about how the whole thing works. In high school I made a claymation but it wasn't until about a year ago I really became obsessed with the art. I can think of a few reasons this came about. Turning 25. Freaking out about my musical ambitions. I've always viewed myself as a tunesman. And you could peel my skin off and dilute my internal organs and still get musical results. But I was getting exhausted. Especially in this Australian Music Industry heat. Phew! But that's another story for another time. I needed to draw energy from something else before I sucked music dry. So... from tunes to toons. It's overwhelming working in a medium that I don't have total experience or confidence in. Sometimes I feel like an imposter. I try to remind myself that with music, I often secretly envy people who are new to writing because they just come up with stuff and it's theoretically abstract but that's why it's cool. Now with animation, I feel like I have a chance to be that person again and have those ideas.
I wanted to embrace animation with the same DIY attitude i do music. After all when you observe the process of making the video for Cockroach and the making of the song itself, there are similarities. They're both nerdy little computer based activities performed in solitude, many hours spent perfecting. In the end, as well as being relieved that it was finished, I was also proud because I'd built an entire audio visual experience."